Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson
Readable enough, but a bit lacking in the sublety department. Clearly a book conceived to address the tensions between environmentalists and the people making a living- in this case, loggers. The water is being poisoned by the defoliants they use, so we get nosebleeds, miscarriages, and birth defects. Our heroine is, of course, an amateur midwife who keeps miscarrying herself but desperately wants a baby. The characters are vivid enough—-Rich Gunderson, the old logger and all around good guy, his young wife Colleen, her ex-lover the NativeAmerican water quality scientist (groan), her sister Enid with 6 kids and a hot-head husband, Eugene, their son Chub. It’s not that they’re flat characters. They have some substance- it’s just that they feel purpose-built.